For a dose of sunshine, eat some lemon pie.

Since the beginning of December, our landscape has pretty much looked constantly like this:

Winter in KY 2010-2011

Not that I’m complaining much – I like the snow. Georgia didn’t really have snow to speak of, only the ice that appears around January and hangs around until March. Kentucky doesn’t usually have too much snow on average, but every so often we get really big winters. This year was the year – we even got a White Christmas for the first time. Cullen has also gotten plenty of practice shoveling snow from various surfaces. :)

Even as much as I love seeing all the pretty, pristine white, sometimes it’s a little too much. I get snow-blindness, and then I get depressed. (Okay, so that’s not the exact order of things, but they do happen.) Stuck inside all the time, too cold to go out, too wet to go play? Bleh. On top of that, the dogs are going stir-crazy – we can’t allow them to romp and play inside as much as they’d like, and playing outside in the snow is fun until ice balls form between their footpads. This all makes for sad puppies. Owners, too.

Lemon pie - Whipped Cream Beaters

While I can’t cheer up the dogs with dessert or citrus, I can do a little something edible for myself that brings the sunshine of summertime inside for a little while. Citrus seems to be everyone’s go-to for a wintertime pick-me-up, and I’m no different. I started making this earlier this winter as something to bring for dessert to a weekly supper at my aunt’s, and I’ve made it several times since. I adapted the lemon tart provided by the gracious Mrs. Humble – I don’t have an 11″ tart pan, so I used a pre-made 9″ pie crust. The recipes makes more than double a standard pie; I bet you could probably get at least two small tarts out of this in addition to the two standard pies. I have also made it in a deep dish, and it fills almost too full. The baking time is also different because of the depth of filling, but it still works out well. Just add 20-30 minutes to the baking time below, until the center is set but still a bit wiggly. Mrs. Humble dusts hers with confectioner’s sugar. I’m sure that’s plenty tasty, but I top mine with sweetened whipped cream. (I’m sure you could also use meringue, but since I don’t eat it, I don’t make it without sincere persuasion.)

Lemon pie filling in progress

Thankfully, the sun seems to be coming out more often now, and the snow seems to be leaving us alone for a while. Granted, we still have March to deal with, and after the winter we’ve had, it will be a formidable one. Thankfully, with lemon pie on my plate, I think we can deal with it a bit longer.

Lemon Custard Pie
(adapted from Not So Humble Pie)

serves 8-10


1 frozen unbaked pie crust
2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 c granulated sugar
2 pinches of salt
6 large eggs
1 c fresh lemon juice
1/2 c heavy cream

1-1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c confectioner’s sugar


Preheat your oven to 350°F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Press 1-1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest into the unbaked crust before baking according to package directions. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Process the one cup of sugar with the remaining lemon zest in your food processor or with a hand blender for about 2-3 minutes, until the zest is finely ground. Pour the sugar into a bowl and add the eggs, lemon juice and a pinch of salt; whisk until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the 1/2 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks and then whisk the cream into the sugar/egg mixture until just blended. Pour this mixture into your still warm crust and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center.

Allow the tart to cool completely. Refrigerate if desired. When ready to serve, beat the 1-1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with the 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar until a desirable consistency is reached. Serve delicate, rich slices topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Lemon sugar and farm eggs


White Chocolate Crème Brûlée.

If I could only make one dessert for the rest of my life, although God forbid that should ever happen, it would be this one. This stuff is absolute magic. I’m serious – if it wasn’t for crème brûlée, I might not have a husband.

White Chocolate Creme Brulee - Ingredients

You think I’m kidding, I’m not. This is the first dessert I ever made for my husband (when we first started dating). It saved me from the disaster that was his first birthday supper with me. I’m convinced that it was what made him decide I was the one he needed to marry. Once you taste this, you’ll understand why.

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Simple strawberry ice cream.

Strawberry Ice Cream

It seems like strawberry ice cream is a summer staple. Every time warm weather rolls around, the photos overtake Tastespotting and Food Gawker. Strawberry sorbet, strawberry ice cream, strawberry gelato – strawberry, strawberry, strawberry. Forgive me, but strawberry isn’t necessarily one of my favorites. I like other berries, if any at all. The Husband, though, really like fruit ice creams, and strawberry is a flavor right up there with the rest.

We went to one of the local farm stands and picked up some fresh strawberries. Other than strawberry shortcakes, we didn’t have any idea what to do with them – then I got the “wild idea” to make ice cream with them before they wasted away. Again, too lazy to deal with separating eggs and wasting whites, or to cook up a custard (although the recipe across the page from the one I used looked pretty damn tasty). I found the recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream and thought “what the hell, let’s go.” I halved the recipe since my ice cream maker only makes a quart at a time, and still got just shy of two.

Strawberry Ice Cream, Decorated

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Quite a way to start the day: kiwi and mango ice creams.

I went to Sam’s a week or two ago with my mother-in-law and Cullen, so we could check out various things (food, storage buildings and the compost bin we brought home, but anyway). She and I got in a conversation over food in the produce section (Cullen was elsewhere at the time), specifically how she’s trying to introduce herself to more produce. She really likes fruits and veggies; she just doesn’t have a habit of eating a whole lot of them at any given time, and they have a tendency to go bad before she gets around to a craving again. We picked up a yellow honeydew out of curiosity and a 3-pound unit of ripening kiwis to split. She even showed me how to peel a kiwi, which was not at all like I have done before (and of course, much easier).


Photo courtesy of Beau Wade on everystockphoto | link

Now, to be honest, I like kiwis, but they’re not high on my list of fruits that I can’t stand to live without. Apples, white grapes, melons, mandarin slices, mostly any berry (especially blackberries) are about the extent of my list. Oranges never held much appeal for me (too much work), and I don’t eat lemons or limes for their own qualities. Mangoes are good, but expensive; never tried a papaya; bananas are an if-I-have-to fruit; pineapples are okay; melons are extremely seasonal (though I love them); scuppernongs and muscadines are something I think you just have to have a taste for; and I absolutely hate grapefruit. Maybe I’m more sheltered in the world of fruit than I thought.

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French Silk Pie.

Apologies for the over week-long wait on the French Silk pie, the star of Pi(e) Day 2010. However, we didn’t even get to tuck into the pie until the middle of this week, due to an unfortunate dental issue (the husband’s, not mine). Thanks to an emergency root canal and a temporary crown (permanent cap to be installed in April – until then, no caramel for Cullen), things are all better. And naturally, we celebrated this dental salvation with big pieces of rich, homemade chocolate pie.

We’re well-known for our smart decisions around these parts.

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